HARRISBURG, Pa. (May 20, 2019) – The Pennsylvania Census 2020 Complete Count Commission is requesting state funding be added to the 2019-20 budget totaling an amount equal to $1 per person currently residing in the state to ensure a complete and accurate census count in 2020.

“For every person we miss, every community we undercount and all the groups we ignore, that will have a tremendous impact on the federal program funding, critical data for business owners and building an improved Pennsylvania,” says 2020 Census Complete Count Commissioner Micah Sims, who led a group of commissioners to discuss and design the public funds strategy.

The Complete Count Commission held its first meeting on Friday, April 20 and established recommendations and policies to facilitate the most complete and accurate census in the year 2020. The meeting featured over 40 commissioners, government officials and community stakeholders organizing to tackle the challenge of insuring a successful 2020 census.

One of the key aspects for a fair and accurate census is state funding for census education, outreach and assistance. Sims led a group of commissioners to determine that public funding was a critical element needed to ensure all individuals were counted for purposes of representation, federal resources and business development. Several commissioners expressed concerns about the decreased funding on the federal level and how it could translate into an undercount for Pennsylvania and recognized the role for Pennsylvania leaders to step in.

The group reviewed state appropriations for census outreach in Illinois, New York, Maryland and California. Representatives from Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Pennsylvania Voice and other entities shared key information on the importance of census data for federal and state programs. Additional information was shared on how national foundations and philanthropic communities were potentially supporting census outreach in certain cities and states across America.

Finally, after robust dialogue, the funding committee voted to request state funding of $1 per person currently residing in Pennsylvania as the appropriate request for Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania legislature in the 2019-2020 budget. These funds would be utilized for outreach, communications, education, administration and assistance to secure a complete and accurate census count in 2020.

Sims, on behalf of the funding committee, presented the report and recommendations before the entire group of 2020 Census Complete Count Commissioners at the April 20 meeting. The public funds recommendation received an overwhelming affirmative vote to pursue funding equaling to $1 per person. In addition, the funding committee would seek to engage and inform the respective house and senate leadership regarding this important and critical matter for the betterment of Pennsylvania now and in the upcoming decade.